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New Gene Discovery may lead to Drug Treatment for GBM Brain Cancer

January 15th 2006

New Gene Discovery may lead to Drug Treatment for GBM Brain Cancer

Dr. Habib

Research published today in the journal Cancer Research describes a gene EGFRvIII that generates a unique pattern of signaling.  This is a distinct gene that that causes a specific brain cancer to grow and multiply.

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a cancer of the supportive tissue of the brain and accounts for 60 percent of brain tumors in adults over the age of 50 years.  The team at UT Southwestern Medical Center discovered the cell-signaling mechanism instrumental in the most common brain cancer in adults.

Researchers already knew that tumor cells proliferate out of control by a mechanism characterized by an abnormally high number of copies of the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR). 


According to Dr. Amyn Habib, assistant professor of neurology at UT Southwestern and the study's senior author, the overexpression of EGFR is a “striking feature” of GBM and is present in 40 to 50 percent of the tumors.

The EGFR overexpression results in an uncontrolled multiplication of both normal EGFR and a mutant form called EGFRvIII.  The EGFRvIII is distinct from EGFR.  Habib said "The better we understand the signaling mechanisms of the normal and the mutant EGFR, the better we can manipulate or control them, our findings suggest that you have to target both the mutant and the normal EGFR based on the mechanism we described."

The current standard treatment for GBM is surgical removal of the tumor, followed by radiation and chemotherapy.  It is hoped these findings could eventually lead to a therapeutic drug or drugs that destroy the brain cancer leaving the healthy cells untouched. 
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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:49 PM